Hide and Seek DVD Review

Written by Peter West

DVD released by Fox Home Video


Directed by John Polson
Written by Ari Schlossberg
2005, Region 1 (NTSC), 101 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on July 5th, 2005

Robert De Niro as David Callaway
Dakota Fanning as Emily Callaway
Famke Janssen as Katherine
Elisabeth Shue as Elizabeth
Amy Irving as Alison Callaway
Dylan Baker as Sheriff Hafferty



When his wife commits suicide psychologist David Callaway (Robert De Niro) moves his traumatized daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) to the tiny upstate town of Woodland, New York. With no children to play with Emily comes up with this imaginary friend "Charlie", who she blames on her recent bad behavior. Callaway meets a young woman named Elizabeth (Shue) in town who has a niece around Emily's age, however Emily drives her away and then blames "Charlie". Things get worse as Callaway begins a relationship with Elizabeth and Emily is unable to handle someone replacing her mother.

Callaway then enlists the help of Emily's therapist Katherine (Famke Janssen) who quickly drives up to Woodland. After Emily tells how "Charlie" is bent on punishing Callaway, Katherine suggests that Emily be hospitalized. Thinking he can treat his daughter's problems himself, Callaway ignores the advise and keeps Emily at home. When the problem with "Charlie" escalates in physical violence Callaway suspects that "Charlie" may not be imaginary after all. Emily calls Katherine and tells her that she doesn't want to play with "Charlie" anymore and that Daddy can't protect her anymore from him. Rushing back to Woodland, Katherine has a showdown with "Charlie" that will change things forever for the Callaways!



Let's see, a first rate director, strong cast, a veteran screenwriter, on paper Hide and Seek should be flawless. Not everything works out so well when it comes to the finished product. Hide and Seek was going along in classic gothic suspenseful thriller style then falls apart at the end with a final twist that doesn't make sense. I'm not saying that the movie is ruined by the final twist, but it did let the me down a bit.

De Niro's performance is solid, as well as Dakota's. The supporting and character actors do their part as well to make the movie work. I just don't know why they chose the twist on the "Charlie" character that they did. Maybe I just expected more. The movie does have it's good points, it did deliver me the "Shue" fix that I need every now and then. While we don't get to see as much of her as I would have liked, she's always the highlight of a movie for me. I'd buy the DVD just to see her, but then that's me. Let's not forget Famke Janssen either, I became a big fan of hers on Season 2 of "Nip/Tuck". Pretty girls aren't enough to save Hide and Seek though.


Video and Audio:

Presented in a 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, Hide and Seek is visually stunning. With so many movies nowadays coming out on digital video, it's refreshing to watch film at its finest!

When it comes to audio, Hide and Seek has it all, 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital English tracks, 2.1 Dolby Digital French and Spanish tracks. When offered I also choose the DTS and it did not disappoint. Thank God I no longer live in a condo. The soundtrack of Hide and Seek is powerful and works well with the action.


Special Features:

Fox loads upHide and Seek with a bunch of extras. A making of featurette, director and screenwriter commentary, four alternate endings, conceptual sequences and deleted scenes. The featurette is pretty decent, the commentary is more nuts and bolts about the film and is just okay though. All in all, it's what a major film release should have!



Movie: Threeandahalfstars
Video: Fivestars
Audio: Fivestars
Features: Fourstars
Overall: Fourstars



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